Sunday, January 29, 2012

6 Months and Eating Solid Foods

This is an update blog and I PROMISE to write more often; I did not realize how many fans I had.

*UPDATE* Mya and Milani are now 6 months and a week old. Times has flown! I remember visiting the NICU once I was released from the hospital to bring the girls breast milk and visit. Then, I thought I wasn't getting any sleep, but I soon realize, that was an understatement. The real work doesn't begin until they come home.

I discussed in a previous blog that I do not look at my girls any differently because they were born premature. I am aware that there are certain milestones they might get to later but for the most part, they are on schedule. I say this because now that my girls are 6 months, the doctor approved them for starting solid foods.

One Has it, the Other...Not So Much

Nuby Hot Safe Spoons Walmart $3.00
Since they were 5 months, I began giving the girls cereal in their bottle. They were on 8 oz of formula and still wanted more. I gave cereal during breakfast time ( one tablespoon) and one at night. Sometimes, the cereal helped them go to sleep faster and other days it did not. To introduce the girls to solid food, I started putting the cereal in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of formula. When starting a baby on solid food, make sure the spoon is rubber and has a small scoop. I recommend Nuby hot safe spoons; they are small and there is a color indicator that changes when the food is too hot.
Boon Inc. Spoon Target $7.00
I also recommend the Boon Inc. squirt baby spoon. Feed a baby can get messy and the Boon Inc. spoon makes the mess manageable by having a compartment to store food in the spoon that squirts out when parents squeeze. I was extremely nervous to start the girls on solid food and in the beginning it was a challenge. Mya and Milani both cried as well as started spitting out the cereal. I felt myself getting frustrated because I really wanted them to eat by spoon. I had to remember that babies aren't dolls, they are not robots and have their own mind. I also remembered that my girls were preemies and may not be ready just yet and that is okay. The last thought quickly faded as Mya started taken the spoon and gumming the cereal, swallowing every bit and opening her mouth for more. Milani, to this day, I am still  working on but she has gotten much better. She would not gum the food, nor swallow. As time went on, she has figured out what to do but she still spits some of it. Mothers with twins, REMEMBER just because they are twins does not mean they are going to do the same thing or develop the same. A lesson that I will forever learn. 

Baby Will Not Take Food, Now What? 

At 6 months, most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods, however, that does not mean they are ready. Here are some signs that suggest if a baby is ready or not: 
  • Can sit up right with support or with out support
  • Moves toward bottle 
  • Opens mouth wide before the bottle comes into contact 
  • Makes noise or watches you eat your own food 
  • Grabs bottle or tries to hold on their own with support 
If the baby can do some or all of these signs but will not take the food; here are some more suggestions to try that have worked for my twins:
  • If your baby is crying because they are extremely hungry and want their bottle, try using a rattle or a favorite toy that makes noise to get their attention and feed them while shaking the object. 
  • Patience. Do not try to over feed your baby just get it over with, put a little food on the TIP of the spoon at a time. If some of the food comes out of their mouth, swipe with the spoon and try again.
  • To feed; feed your baby with a scoop motion, making sure the food hits the roof of their mouth so they can swallow. 
  • Tried all the suggestions and still won't swallow? Try again in a week or so. Breast milk or formula is still the main source of nutrition, so it is okay if they do not take the cereal or any other solid food right away. 
Do Not Get Discourage

To mothers of infants who were born premature, remember the joy you felt when your baby finally got the hang of suck, breathe, swallow when eating by bottle? It was a challenge for your little one because of being born early and it was a huge milestone when they mastered it. Eating solids is the same thing and is the same way for those who were born full term. For 6 months (others maybe less) your baby received their food through the bottle, now they have to learn to swallow and chew. Some get the hang of it (like Mya) others will take a little longer. Keep working on it. As I mentioned before, try again in a week or so. 

Trying New Foods 

Research has suggested to try new foods with your baby in 5 to 8 days durations because you want to your baby to know the taste of each particular food. I do not recommend mixing foods together just yet.  Your doctor may suggest starting with cereal first. At the beginning, give cereal in a bowl after the first formula or breast milk feeding. Sometimes babies are extremely hungry and are not in the mood to gum solids. Before they go to sleep, give cereal in a bowl with the last feeding of the night. 

Doctors have stated to start babies with vegetables first and then move on to fruits. I suggest sweet potato and string beans. Gerber's foods are labeled with certain levels so parents know which food to start off with. 

What are your tips for solid foods?


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